Loues Labour's lost


William Shakespeare

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Loues Labour's lost Page 01

Actus primus.

Enter Ferdinand King of Nauarre, Berowne, Longauill, and Dumane.

Ferdinand. Let Fame, that all hunt after in their liues, Liue registred vpon our brazen Tombes, And then grace vs in the disgrace of death: when spight of cormorant deuouring Time, Th' endeuour of this present breath may buy: That honour which shall bate his sythes keene edge, And make vs heyres of all eternitie. Therefore braue Conquerours, for so you are, That warre against your owne affections, And the huge Armie of the worlds desires. Our late edict shall strongly stand in force, Nauar shall be the wonder of the world. Our Court shall be a little Achademe, Still and contemplatiue in liuing Art. You three, Berowne, Dumaine, and Longauill, Haue sworne for three yeeres terme, to liue with me: My fellow Schollers, and to keepe those statutes That are recorded in this scedule heere. Your oathes are past, and now subscribe your names: That his owne hand may strike his honour downe, That violates the smallest branch heerein: If you are arm'd to doe, as sworne to do, Subscribe to your deepe oathes, and keepe it to

Longauill. I am resolu'd, 'tis but a three yeeres fast: The minde shall banquet, though the body pine, Fat paunches haue leane pates: and dainty bits, Make rich the ribs, but bankerout the wits

Dumane. My louing Lord, Dumane is mortified, The grosser manner of these worlds delights, He throwes vpon the grosse worlds baser slaues: To loue, to wealth, to pompe, I pine and die, With all these liuing in Philosophie

Berowne. I can but say their protestation ouer, So much, deare Liege, I haue already sworne, That is, to liue and study heere three yeeres. But there are other strict obseruances: As not to see a woman in that terme, Which I hope well is not enrolled there. And one day in a weeke to touch no foode: And but one meale on euery day beside: The which I hope is not enrolled there. And then to sleepe but three houres in the night, And not be seene to winke of all the day. When I was wont to thinke no harme all night, And make a darke night too of halfe the day: Which I hope well is not enrolled there. O, these are barren taskes, too hard to keepe, Not to see Ladies, study, fast, not sleepe

Ferd. Your oath is past, to passe away from these

Berow. Let me say no my Liedge, and if you please, I onely swore to study with your grace, And stay heere in your Court for three yeeres space

Longa. You swore to that Berowne, and to the rest

Berow. By yea and nay sir, than I swore in iest. What is the end of study, let me know? Fer. Why that to know which else wee should not know

Ber. Things hid & bard (you meane) fro[m] co[m]mon sense

Ferd. I, that is studies god-like recompence

Bero. Come on then, I will sweare to studie so, To know the thing I am forbid to know: As thus, to study where I well may dine, When I to fast expressely am forbid. Or studie where to meete some Mistresse fine, When Mistresses from common sense are hid. Or hauing sworne too hard a keeping oath, Studie to breake it, and not breake my troth. If studies gaine be thus, and this be so, Studie knowes that which yet it doth not know, Sweare me to this, and I will nere say no

Ferd. These be the stops that hinder studie quite, And traine our intellects to vaine delight

William Shakespeare
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